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Dog Days of Summer Reading from Book Post!
Hello Book Post readers! As we settle into our hammocks with our iced tea, or something stronger, fortifying ourselves for the storms ahead, I thought I’d salve our spirits with some highlights from a year in Book Posting.
Book Post’s paying subscribers receive (aspirationally) one subscriber-only post for every one of the publicly visible posts here. For me these gems are our reason for being. Each one comes from a writer I deeply admire, considering a subject I rate worth the attention, matchmaking on which I spend much of my days. My aim is that each one contributes in some way to a shared culture of insight and information on which we all can build. Paying writers with the newsletter model is our way of resisting the decoupling of monetary and intellectual value wrought by clickbait and algorithm-driven forms of literary distribution. Each of our reviews aspires to be a little cairn on the path to a higher perspective.
I hope you will consider subscribing to our reviews, because you want to read them, and also perhaps because you think that supporting the widening of substantive book-discussion is a way of supporting all sorts of goods. To this end I am offering a special summer sale now through August 31! Sign up now and receive a 20% discount on your first twelve months of Book Post.
And now—opened up for the rest of August—a year in Book Post!
❧ Last August, journalist, screenwriter, and wit Michael Idov reviewed the fiction of Ukrainian hero-poet Serhiy Zhadan, who is now delivering food and medical supplies from a station wagon on the streets of Kharkiv. A colleague described him as a “post proletarian punk” “Rimbaud from Kharkiv.”
❧ And later that month, poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, who runs the Freedom Reads project setting up libraries in prisons around the country, described how reading poet Yusef Komunyakaa while himself incarcerated helped him to envision another kind of life.
❧ Moving outdoors, nature writer and defender of the Appalachian wilderness Erik Reece brought us an invocation of the prophetic career of accidental writer and environmental Cassandra Rachel Carson.
❧ In October, Mexican-American novelist Àlvaro Enrigue introduced us to Mexico’s own Catcher in the Rye, a coming-of-age story that began in defiance of conformity and ended up on every syllabus: Battles in the Desert by José Emilio Pacheco.
❧ Then there was the time storied professor Peter Brooks encountered Sally Rooney, who reminded him of the Marquis de Sade.
❧ Christian Caryl, usually chained to the day’s events at the Washington Post opinion desk, recalled the joys of disembarking imaginatively the old-fashioned way, thanks to legendary adventurer of the page Colin Thubron.
❧ Later Joy Williams, a novelist whose own works take liberties with time and space, considered the real and imagined in the life of W. G. Sebald.
❧ I was elated when Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, much loved for her classic study Random Family, emerged from a long period of creative solitude to write for Book Post subscribers on her most recent preoccupation, about which she will soon have a new book: comedy.
❧ At one point I had too much to say about Jonathan Franzen and inflicted my views on our captive subscribers.
❧ And as summer came around again David Leavitt returned to his anxious youthful appraisal of pioneering gay novelist Andrew Holleran to consider their shared senior experience in—yes—Florida.
And more. That’s not even to mention our occasional Diary reflections from writers and my Notebooks of dispatches from the world of publishing and letters. See all our posts here!
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We hope you will want to be a part of Book Post, and wish you as peaceful and reflective a few last weeks of summer as you can find, wherever you are.
Book Post is a by-subscription book review service, bringing snack-sized book reviews by distinguished and engaging writers direct to our paying subscribers’ in-boxes, as well as free posts like this one from time to time to those who follow us. We aspire to grow a shared reading life in a divided world.
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